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Deirdre’s World

Transforming a builder’s special into a fancy farm



Deirdre Arutunian and daughter Emma Farrell cool off on the front steps of Farrell Farm with pooches Howie, Luna, and Hunter.

Ken Arutunian

Deirdre Arutunian wasn’t house hunting when she came to Mt. Kisco ten years ago; she and her family had simply driven to Westchester from their home on Long Island for an afternoon of go-karting and took a wrong turn. “We ended up in Bedford, driving all those back roads and fell in love,” says the interior designer. “We came back the next day, found a real estate agent, and looked at 60 different houses. This was the last one.” She and her former husband, Bradley Farrell, fell for the rural setting and the unimpeded view of the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. The house itself—a “builder’s special,” according to Arutunian—was just a foundation for what they would later create.

At first, they simply enrolled daughters Emma and Ellis in the local school, added a fresh coat of paint to the interior walls, and settled in. But, Arutunian, an equestrian who learned to ride in her native Virginia, quickly got to work outdoors where she wanted to create a little farm with a big view. She painted the existing yellow barn red, added a riding ring and a chicken coop, and over time brought in a horse, pony, chickens, sheep, goats, alpacas, and three dogs.

Indoors, she filled the house with country French and English furnishings. Alas, she was waiting for an “aha” moment that would send her in a unique décor direction, and a family trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming provided exactly the inspiration she was looking for. “We fell in love with the old wood and the beams and the architecture, and we wanted to recreate it—not so American but rather with a French twist,” she recalls.    

After their return, Farrell set about locating vintage wood to incorporate into their home décor. He ended up purchasing a Civil War-era barn and a c. 1700s carriage house from upstate New York that were dismantled and brought to the newly christened Farrell Farm for installation. “Bradley meticulously designed the wood placement and worked closely with our contractor, Bob Torre, to determine exactly how each piece of wood would be installed,”  Arutunian says. The repurposed barn flooring and beams now accent the ceilings and walls throughout the first floor in historically inspired patterns. 

Arutunian says that bringing in the barn wood was like opening a Pandora’s box; everything else then needed to be changed to work with the new rustic vibe. She replaced the shiny marble entry floor with brick and stained the blonde floors a darker shade. On the walls, she decided to take a risk by hanging elegant wallpaper. “What I wanted to do, I couldn’t find online,” she says regarding her desire to mix vintage barn wood with fancy wallpaper, French décor, and crystals. “People weren’t doing this. So, I had to wing it.” She also updated the exterior, installing rustic beams above the windows, adding new shutters, painting the brick and clapboard white, and adding lush landscaping.  

The new parking court directs visitors to the terraced-brick front entrance. Indoors, the two-story foyer is adorned with imported tapestries and hand-painted silhouettes of dogs.  On the left is the parlor. “I wanted it to be very ‘Marie Antoinette,’” she says of the room dominated by an oversized portrait of an unknown blonde woman—a piece Arutunian found in an antiques store—above a French daybed.

A vintage, stuffed peacock sits on a pedestal in the corner, a crystal chandelier hangs overhead, and a viola (daughter Emma plays) casually sits in a Pierre Frey-upholstered Louis XVI chair.  Arutunian’s office is at the back of the parlor. From her command post, the multi-tasking mother of two can survey the swimming pool, the farm, and the reservation beyond.

The game room is to the right, and straight ahead is the great room, replete with an eclectic mix of rustic wood trim, English country furnishings, and modern lighting from Lunabella. “I went looking for pieces, and as I found them, I brought them home and made them fit,” she says, pointing out her favorite finds. “I found the stained glass door at United House Wrecking in Stamford and these hand-painted panels in an antiques shop in Hudson,” she continues as she enters the adjacent dining room.

The final stage of the home renovation was the conversion of an attached garage into Arutunian’s dream kitchen, anchored by 150-year-old Hemlock floors and topped with reproduction crystal pendant lamps. “I didn’t want a showroom kitchen. I wanted an all-furniture kitchen—no built-ins.”

She sourced a table from Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola’s old house in Bedford, the imported tiles from Exquisite Surface, and the range from La Cornue, but the avid cook notes that while her upscale furnishings might give the impression that the décor is fragile and precious, it’s not like that at all. “My kids can go in any room, take their friends in there, and put their feet up on everything. 

They go to the barn, they jump on the horse, and come in the kitchen with muddy boots. It’s a farm—a fancy farm. Actually a friend described the style as ‘rustic Liberace,’ and I’m good with that.”    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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September 2018

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

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Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
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Cost: Free to audition

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400 Bedford Rd
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Sponsor: Hudson Chorale
Telephone: 914-478-0074
Contact Name: Jeanne Wygant
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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


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More information

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Cost: $1,000 per person

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Saint Andrew’s Golf Club
10 Old Jackson Ave
Hastings on Hudson, NY
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More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Department of Social Services
112 E Post Road
White Plains, NY  10601
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Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914-997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
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More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
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Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $80.00

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Whitby Castle
330 Boston Post Rd
Rye, NY  10580
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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Rd.
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More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $25

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Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
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Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Legendary journalist Lesley Stahl will lead a special one-on-one event with former sex-crimes prosecutor turned BEST – SELLING crime novelist, Linda Fairstein. From the unsolved cases that keep...

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Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Rd.
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Telephone: 914-234-6704
Website »

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Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The 58th annual Lewisboro Library Fair is Saturday, September 22 from 10 am to 4 pm at Onatru Farm Town Park (99 Elmwood Road in South Salem). The Fair features huge Book, “Attic Treasures”...

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99 Elmwood Road
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Sponsor: Lewisboro Library
Telephone: 914-875-9004
Contact Name: Liz Gabriele
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